Washington, D.C. (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres opened their preseason schedule for the 2023-24 season on Sunday with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena in the nation's capital.
The home side got the scoring started in the first period of play. It was forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel beating Sabres goalie Eric Comrie with a wrist shot at the 14:52 mark to make it a 1-0 Capitals lead.
In the second period, the Capitals doubled their lead when 2022 sixth-round pick Ryan Hofer snuck a backhand past Comrie to give Washington a 2-0 lead.
The Sabres cut the deficit in half before period's end when forward JJ Peterka scored his first goal of the preseason after banking a rebound chance off undrafted Capitals netminder Clay Stevenson.
Still trailing 2-1, Buffalo rattled off two unanswered goals to take their first lead of the afternoon in the third period.
First, it was forward Peyton Krebs getting a piece of a point shot from defenseman Jacob Bryson to even the score at 2-2. This came just 1:19 into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Just 7:40 later, the Sabres go ahead thanks to another redirection in front of the Washington net. This time, it was 2023 first-round pick Zach Benson getting a piece of Ryan Johnson's point shot to make it a 3-2 contest.
With about seven-and-a-half minutes remaining in tegulation, the Capitals evened the score at 3-3, as forward Sonny Milano's snapshot beat goalie Dustin Tokarski, who came in net for Comrie for the third period.
Overtime was needed in Washington, where neither side was able to find the game-winning tally.
At the start of the shootout, Milano scored on a wrist shot for Washington, but he was matched by Peterka, who beat Stevenson through the five-hole in Round 1.
After the Capitals failed to score on their next two attempts, Buffalo had a chance to end the game with a win in Round 3. It ended up being forward Brandon Biro coming up with the game-winning goal for the Sabres to help Buffalo to a 1-0-0 start in the preseason.
WSH: 14:52 - Nicolas Aube-Kubel (1) (Riley Sutter, Lucas Johansen)
BUF: 15:58 - JJ Peterka (1) (Brandon Biro)
WSH: 13:02 - Ryan Hofer (1) (Henrik Rybinski, Trevor van Riemsdyk)
BUF: 1:19 - Peyton Krebs (1) (Jacob Bryson, Lukas Rousek); 8:59 - Zach Benson (1) (Ryan Johnson, Jordan Greenway)
WSH: 12:31 - Sonny Milano (1) (Anthony Mantha, Dylan Strome)
WSH: Sonny Milano - GOAL
BUF: JJ Peterka - GOAL
WSH: Hendrix Lapierre - Save
BUF: Zach Benson - Save
WSH: Dylan Strome - Miss
BUF: Brandon Biro - GOAL
BUF: 4:48 - Filip Cederqvist (Tripping - 2 min.)
WSH: 1:51 - Nicolas Aube-Kubel (Hooking - 2 min.); 3:51 - Alexander Alexeyev (Tripping - 2 min.); 6:35 - Matthew Phillips (Tripping - 2 min.)
BUF: 13:46 - Brandon Biro (Hooking - 2 min.); 18:00 - Tyson Kozak (Cross-checking - 2 min.)
WSH: 2:16 - Lucas Johansen (Tripping - 2 min.)
WSH: 2:12 - Nicolas Aube-Kubel (Holding - 2 min.)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Sonny Milano - WSH
2.) Zach Benson - BUF
3.) Ryan Hofer - WSH
The Sabres return home to host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at KeyBank Center in Downtown Buffalo. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. ET with pregame coverage on WGR with Mike Schopp and the Bulldog starting at 6 p.m. ET.